Is Your Mobile Device Secure?

Mobile devices today are used for just about everything. From gaming to social networking to banking to office tasks - nearly anything you need to do, you can do it on your mobile device. It's funny t...
Is Your Mobile Device Secure?
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  • Mobile devices today are used for just about everything. From gaming to social networking to banking to office tasks – nearly anything you need to do, you can do it on your mobile device. It’s funny to think about, but the phone features are almost secondary with some users.

    Kevin Mahaffey, the CTO and Co-founder of Lookout Mobile Security, told us that mobile devices have evolved from telephones to computers that we can put into our pockets.

    “Mobile devices are gaining a whole new level of importance in the world,” he said. “They know who you are, who you talk to, [and] they might even have financial and location information about you.”

    Because the functions of mobile devices have created ease and convenience for consumers both in their professional and personal lives, most users don’t think about being in danger of security attacks. However, according to security software vendor Trusteer, mobile users are three times more vulnerable to phishing attacks than desktop computer users are. This is a pretty unsettling stat, isn’t it?

    How secure do you feel in the transactions that you do on your mobile device? Let us know.

    Mahaffey told us that users are susceptible to three primary types of attacks: phishing, drive-by downloads, and exploits. At this point, the phishing attacks are the most common with scammers offering links that would compromise confidential information.

    Drive-by downloads, which occur when a site tricks users to download something without seeking consent, are also beginning to gain some traction on mobile devices. Exploits are also a concern for mobile since a bad site could use a flaw in the browser or software to gain control over the device.

    What’s more, Mahaffey said that we could expect these attacks to increase as more devices come to the market. Consumers are also feeling more comfortable with their mobiles, which means that they are becoming more risky in their behavior.

    “Now that everyone’s reading email, browsing the Web, [and] downloading apps, there are a large number of ways that the bad guys can get in,” he said.

    For these reasons, Lookout Mobile Security recently introduced Safe Browsing to help protect users from scammers. The technology scans every url a user visits to check for any malicious activity. The interesting thing is that, unless it detects something, a user would never know it was there.  It also doesn’t impact the browsing speed for users.
    If the technology does detect something, it gives a warning message to the user. From there, the user can decide whether or not it wants to continue.

    As part of this launch, Lookout also announced a partnership with Sprint that will bring the Safe Browsing protection to Sprint users. Mahaffey said Lookout’s goal was to “make people happy and more confident in their phones,” which they believe is furthered by this partnership.

    In terms of basic security advice, he told us that users should be careful about what they click on and where they download apps. He recommends determining if the developer is reputable, if the app is safe, and if the area of the Internet is shady. In addition, he points out that users should check their phone bill since scammers might try to slip in extra charges.

    Does this information make you hesitant about using your mobile device for everything?

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